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SMEs and entrepreneurship take center stage at G20

Article - January 20, 2016

Turkey has placed special emphasis on supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs for sustainable economic growth during its G20 presidency

One of the three pillars of Turkey’s G20 agenda is ‘Inclusiveness’; and under this pillar it has emphasized issues pertaining to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly investment bottlenecks and better integration of SMEs into global value chains.  It is the first time that such issues facing SMEs have come into particular focus at a G20 summit. By bringing these issues to the fore, Turkey hopes to leverage the G20’s power to help SMEs address such challenges.

Turkey has been a leader in the SME agenda of the G20 since its inception, and has served as co-chair of the SME finance subgroup since this issue became a priority for the G20 in 2009. As part of its G20 strategy, the World SME Forum (WSF) was launched earlier this year. This is a major new initiative to enhance the contribution of SMEs to global economic growth and employment.

“There is broad recognition that SME growth will be a central driver of economic growth over the next decade. The WSF will play a key role in helping SMEs tap global markets for the first time—and will ensure that global policies are designed with the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs in mind,” said Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce John Danilovich at the launch.

Entrepreneurship, particularly in relation to women and young people, has been the subject of various events and panel discussions at the G20. The fostering of startups and young entrepreneurs will be vital to this initiative to drive global growth through SMEs, believes Ümit Leblebici, CEO of Turkish bank TEB.

“My message to the G20 is that we must support these young entrepreneurs,” he says. “I think Turkey will be one of the best countries for young entrepreneurs. TEB is the only bank which has a startup branch in our network, where we listen to young people and their ideas. We take them to incubation centres and create a network for them, helping to put them in touch with investors.”

Turkish firm Yataş started 40 years ago as a small family company, and now exports to 44 countries. With Turkey’s and the WSF’s agendas focusing on helping SMEs to access global markets, Yataş Chairman Yavuz Altop offers    advice on how to go global: “Make a solid plan, stick to it and be patient. In order to be a good global player, you also need to focus on quality in terms of your product and services.”